Children

Sever’s Disease: A common cause of heel pain

What is Sever’s disease?

Sever’s disease occurs in children when the growth plate (which is the growing part of the heel) is painful. The foot is one of the first body parts to grow to full size. This usually occurs in early puberty. During this time, bones often grow faster than muscles and tendons. As a result, muscles and tendons become tight. The heel area is less flexible. During standing and physical activity, the tight heel tendons may put too much pressure at the back of the heel (where the Achilles tendon attaches). This can injure the heel and cause Sever’s disease.

When is my child most at risk for Sever’s disease?

Your child is most at risk for this condition when he or she is in the early part of the growth spurt in early puberty. Sever’s disease is most common in physically active girls 8 years to 10 years of age and in physically active boys 10 years to 12 years of age. Soccer players and gymnasts often get Sever’s disease, but children who do any running or jumping activity may also be at an increased risk. Sever’s disease rarely occurs in older teenagers because the back of the heel has typically finished growing by 15 years of age.

How do I know if my child’s heel pain is caused by Sever’s disease?

In Sever’s disease, heel pain can be in one or both heels. It usually starts after a child begins a new sports season or a new sport. Your child may walk with a limp. The pain may increase when he or she runs or jumps. He or she may have a tendency to tiptoe. Your child’s heel may hurt if you squeeze both sides toward the very back.

Are there any problems linked with Sever’s disease?

No long-term problems have been linked with Sever’s disease, and the pain will go away once the growth plates have fused, however, this condition can be very painful, and limit the amount of activity your child can participate in.

You should call your podiatrist if your child’s heel pain does not get better, or gets worse, or if you have any concerns.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease: A common cause of knee pain

What is Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a condition that causes knee pain in sporty adolescents between ages of 10 to 15 years when the growth plate at the knee is injured or inflamed. Rather than a disease, this is actually an overuse condition. Usually only one knee is affected but sometimes it can affect both knees.

When is my child most at risk for Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Your child is most at risk for this condition when he or she is in the early part of the growth spurt in early puberty. Osgood-Schlatter disease is most common in active, sporty children. This is because a lot of stress and load goes through the knee, causing pain and discomfort of the growth plate at the knee.

What are the symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease?

  • Gradual onset of pain (versus immediate injury)
  • Pain and swelling around the knee
  • Limping after exercise, improves with rest
  • Worse during running and jumping sports, landing on knee, and kneeling

Are there any problems linked with Osgood-Schlatter disease?

There are generally no long term problems linked with Osgood-Schlatter disease, and the pain will go away once the growth plates have fused, however, this condition can be very painful, and limit the amount of activity your child can participate in. The symptoms can last from weeks to months, and may reoccur.

You should call your podiatrist if your child’s knee pain does not get better, if it gets worse, or if you have any concerns.